Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Chapter 6 - The Man With No Name

*6*
     The man checked the address twice before punching in the address into the GPS.
The female android voice prompted him the way. He diligently followed the lefts, the rights and the straights, till he reached a road impossible for any vehicle to traverse through. The android woman insisted on heading straight for another 500 meters to reach destination. He found a spot by the side of the road to park. He unclipped his seat belt, checked the gun and the spare magazine. Pulled the phone of its holder on the dashboard, closed the program with the android woman and stepped out.
He stood out like a vestigial tail flopping around in the wind. Kids playing cricket on the streets, men drinking tea and women gaily chatting amongst themselves stopped themselves and stared at this abrupt interruption in their routine. He walked to the group of men who held their cups of tea in their hands and cigarettes hanging from their lips. He pulled the cigarette from a man’s lips and shoved the phone screen in his line of sight. Residents crept out of the crevices they called homes to look this creature.
‘Prasanna?’ The man queried as he pulled hard on the cigarette.
‘Prasanna?’ The man asked around his peers who sat next to him.
‘Auto driver!’ The man offered to clear their confusion.
Why? What do you want? Tell me, you want women? Grass? Coke? Booze?’ The tea drinking, dhoti and baniyan clad man gleefully inquired, sensing quick money from the skin tone and the cut of the suit as he handed the phone back
The man pulled out the tin lid covering the glass jar filled with biscuits to go with the tea and smacked it hard against the man’s cheek.
‘Prasanna, auto driver. Where?’ The man repeated his question as he shoved the phone back into the man’s hand.
The man pointed in the general direction. The man smiled as placed the lid back over the glass jar and pocketed his phone.
The man found the kids who till moments ago were engrossed in a game of street cricket helping him with directions as they ran and cleared the path for him. One of the kids ran into the house and called out to his mother.
Amma! Amma! Some white fellow is looking for appa!’ The boy yelled as he tugged at his mother’s nighty. The woman annoyed at this misplaced excitement slapped the kid to settle down.
The man bent down and entered the low doorway. He saw the kid smiling and hiding behind his mother.
‘Prasanna?’ The man questioned.
Eh! Who are you? Get out!’ the woman admonished the man for having entered her sanctum Sanctorum. The man ignored the woman’s hysterical shrieks and looked around the small confined space. His eyes found what he was looking for. A cheap family portrait taken right after the kid was born in a studio framed in a garish frame surrounded by stickers of Mickey and Minnie mouse. There staring at him was the smiling face of Prasanna.
Get out before I call my husband!’ the woman shrieked as she searched around for things which she could use for defense and attack this intruder. She found a steel ladle in the kitchen. The man picked up the family photo and studied it with intent. The years had not been kind to Prasanna.
The wife came charging at him, waving the ladle threateningly. The man turned and slapped the woman hard, cutting the inside of her cheek against her teeth. The boy hid himself behind the wall.
‘Your husband?’ The man pointed at the family portrait. The woman nodded as tears rolled down her eyes, wiping the blood from the corner of her mouth. A huge crowd stood outside the small one bedroom kitchen set up, witnessing everything that transpired. Nobody stepped forward or exercised their vocal chords.
‘Your husband… Where is he?’ The man questioned, with appropriate hand gestures for the woman to understand.
I don’t know! I haven’t seen him for the last two days’ the woman wailed, ‘What has that demon brought upon me now?
     The man looked around the room, his eyes rested on a pencil and a notebook. He penciled in his number and thrust it towards the woman.
‘Your husband. Call me! Urgent. Understand?’ The man spoke as he saw the woman study his handwriting. He ventured into the kitchen, rumbled around till he found a pair of scissors. He caught hold of the woman’s hair from behind and turned her head around so that she could see his green flaming eyes.
‘Do you understand?’ He questioned again as he snipped the scissors in the air. The woman nodded as she wet her nighty, a puddle of piss streaming towards the doorway. He let go of her hair and she dropped on the floor in shame and despair. He pocketed the happy family portrait.
The crowd parted the way Moses parted the red sea, as he stepped out of the house and made his way back to the car. Nobody wanted to mess with an insane white man. Dealing with their own kind was more than enough.

No comments: